Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Road To Ruins - A Trip To Kos Town



Kos Town is the capital of Kos and, with a population of 14,750, the only sizable town on the island. Buses leave Kamari harbour every three hours and the 40 km journey takes around fifty minutes. For a couple of euros extra you can pop into the village travel agent and book a seat on one of their twice weekly coach trips which will pick you up from your accommodation (unless you're up a narrow mountain path, like us, in which case you have to wait on the sea front) and drop you off in Kos Town, collecting you four hours later. As it is approaching the end of the tourist season we shared the coach with just four other couples - a lot more spacious than the bus!


You know that old Greek film Never On A Sunday? Well, if you ever visit Kos Town, you need to change that to a Monday as, once we'd stepped off the coach, we soon discovered that several of the town's main attractions were only open from Tuesday to Sunday meaning that both the Archaeological Museum and the 15th century Castle of the Knights were off the agenda.


 Oh well, if you've ever visited Kos then you'll know that it's an island of endless treasures and that, even in Kos Town, it's pretty much impossible not to spot an Ancient Greek ruin as they're scattered pretty much everywhere you turn.


Next to the car park we came across some ancient ruins which, we discovered, were uncovered after an earthquake in 1933. The House of Europa (on the left, in the background) dates from the 2nd Century and in front there's a section of the Decumanus Maximus, the Roman city's main thoroughfare.


The Medieval walls of Castle of the Knights, constructed in the 15th century, stand guard beside Kos harbour whilst the overgrown inner courtyard plays host to hundreds of cats, basking in the shade.


At the port you'll see an unbroken row of excursion boats, fishing vessels and fancy yachts bobbing against each other all along the waterfront. 


High speed catamarans connect Kos Town with Turkey, a journey of around twenty minutes.


Piatera Platanou is a pretty cobblestone square filled with grand buildings.


The Greek Orthodox church still bears the scars from last year's earthquake which claimed two lives and injured over 100.









Here, over an iced coffee, in one of the many shady cafes that throng the square you can pay your respects to the Hippocrates plane tree, where Hippocrates is said to have taught his pupils in its shade. 


The ancient sarcophagus beneath was converted into a fountain by the Ottomans while the magnificent 18th Century Mosque of Gazi Hassan Pasha, sadly now boarded up, stands opposite.





A bronze statue depicting Hippocrates instructing his students with the Hippocratic oath in both English & Greek etched on to the sides.


Look at the quality of the carving on that thousand year old slab of marble. It's unbelievable that pieces like that are just lying around in the town centre, isn't it?


The Ancient Agora was, like the House of Europa, exposed following the 1933 earthquake. Back in the 4th century BC, this was the first town ever laid out on blocks. 


Lunch was taken al fresco in a tiny cobbled street running adjacent to the harbour and consisted of Greek Salad and Mythos beer....again! 




We couldn't resist a stroll around the shady cemetery.





 Here's the church of Saint John the Baptist which was built in the 5th century AD. 






We were happy to see that animal charity, Z.O.E.K, had collection boxes all over Kos Town with signs encouraging visitors to donate their spare change to help the strays. Volunteers ensured that there were bowls of cat biscuits and water readily available for any hungry cats. It's impossible to visit Greece and not fall in love with the cats - we always do!


After a final wander around the medieval walls we strolled back to the car park to catch our coach back to Kamari.

I'll be back with the final installment very soon.

49 comments:

  1. It looks so clean there Vix.
    I'm not a great traveller but I think I might enjoy it there.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. It's immaculate, Sheila. The cleanliness of Greece certainly puts the UK to shame. the only littering I saw all week was by a British child (typical!) xxx

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  2. Gorgeous! Very close to my ancestors’ island of Nisyros! Hoping to visit one of these years v

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    1. Nisyros was a 20 minute boat ride away - it looks amazing! x

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  3. Thanks for part two, such beautiful photos of a lovely place.

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  4. Shame about the museums but I'm glad you were still able to amuse yourselves.

    I always find it incredible to visit places like that and imagine you're taking the same steps that someone took so very many years ago.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I quite like it when we can't see everything, it's the perfect excuse to go back!
      Isn't it mind blowing that people looking at the same things we were four thousand years ago? xxx

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  5. All that history just dotted around town! It was a pity every where was closed but it looks like you still had a great time.
    I noticed you didn't gave a typical Greek coffee? We're divided in this house Philip loves them and they make me wince. xx

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    1. I'm not a huge fan of Turkish or Greek coffee either - no wonder it comes with a glass water, it's to get rid of the taste! Jon likes it, though! xxx

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  6. Oh, it is all looks so interesting. I'm astonished that greedy tourists haven't nicked the beautiful marble pieces lying around. It's a shame the mosque is boarded up it looked to be a lovely building.

    Marvellous cats!

    Your blue outfit is spectacular and I loved it with your yellow clogs (?).

    Hope your week is going well and that you're nicely rested.
    xxxx

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    1. If I'm honest we preferred Corfu Town to Kos Town but those ruins were mind blowing.
      My yellow clogs are ridiculously comfy, I didn't get a blister all week! xxx

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  7. Wow! Look at those brilliant blue skies- they match your outfit!
    Makes me miss the Mediterranean climate of my native California.
    Glad to see someone is taking care of the strays in Greece!
    xox

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    1. I thought you'd be happy to hear about the strays! xxx

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  8. There's nothing like Grecian light and the color blue and white in it. Even the air looks good! Seeing your pictures, I just naturally want to take a long, deep breath and relax. And your wearing the perfect clothes for it!

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    1. The light really is amazing, isn't it? xxx

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  9. You are dressed for the landscape, in your gorgeous blue and white skirt with the off-the shoulder top (I was going to write "cold shoulder" but then I thought, no!). It must have been brilliant having that coach almost to yourselves. Shame about the museums, though. Kos Town is a treat for the eyes. Having all these beautifully carved marble pieces lying around is just mind boggling. Love the cats! xxx

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    1. I found that skirt in a proper shop in the sales last year and knew it was going to be my Greece skirt for ever!
      I can't believe that with all the research I put into our trips that I neglected to notice that the main tourist attractions are closed on a Monday but I suppose it's a great excuse to go back! xxx

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  10. Oh, that is just amazing. How close the history is! So glorious - I would be in heaven poking around those ruins.

    Aw, the kitties (I spy a bottlebrush-tailed Vizzini/Stephen Squirrel!). I fell in love with the cats in Italy when we were there. Have you seen the documentary "Kedi"? It is about the cats of Istanbul (no cats die in the film!). It's wonderful.

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    1. You're a mind reader, I was racking my brains trying to think of the name of that film. I saw it on the flight to Gujarat last year and absolutely loved it. xxx

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  11. Every one of these photos could be a postcard. Love your blue outfit to match the sea.

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    1. That skirt was crying out for a holiday in Greece! x

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  12. More great photography, what an interesting and pretty place.

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  13. Look at your blue and white outfit, you perfectly match the setting! Have you always been interested in ancient history, Vix? I learnt a bit about Roman history in highschool and I'm fascinated by ancient Egyptian history. This blog post has made me feel like pulling out an old history book and reading it! Xxx

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    1. Thanks, Jess! Yes, Mum used to read stories from the Iliad and the Odyssey to us at bedtime when we were children. I still love them now! xxx

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  14. such picturesque town!
    love your look and the cats of cause! and the salad makes me hungry :-D
    i´d read all the greek sagas as a kid, more then once - and i´m still fascinated. must feel magic to walk between that ruins......
    xxxxx

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    1. I still love the Geek sagas, I have to watch Jason and The Argonauts every time it's on TV! x

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  15. Awww...all the cats, I'm glad you can donate money to help them out. Also it blows my mind that there's a bunch of stuff from the 2nd Century just there next to the car park, I just feel like it should be in a museum somewhere. I also love that gingham skirt, I need one for summer!

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    1. The cats are just lovely, I want to take them all home, they're always so shouty and friendly! xx

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  16. Kos town looks fascinating. Incredible to think that the carvings etc have been there since the year dot and still in good condition. Love your outfit (and bag!) and the cats of course!xx

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    1. I still can't get my head round the skill of that stonework and the fact it's just lying there! x

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  17. Love that first photo. You look so happy...plus that outfit is adorable. Kos looks like a great place to visit. Greek islands remind me of Croatian islands so much, I'd love to visit them some day and see are they truly so much alike as they seem on photos and documentaries.

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    1. I've not visited Croatia (yet) but a lot of people say that they share similarities. I need to go so I can find out for myself. xxx

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  18. Thank you for sharing. Especially the kitty pictures!

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    1. My pleasure! Thanks for reading! x

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  19. We never made it to Kos town but it looks like a lovely place for a wander. Loving the holiday cats!

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    1. That's what I love about Greece - all the cats! What a shame you didn't visit Kos town, it's a wonderful place for a wander. xxx

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  20. woww, I've enjoyed both posts and I'm looking forward to see more about your holiday!, it always amazes me how many quiet fabulous places there are in the mediterranean coast!, lovely that you could enjoy the beach, the warm temperatures and the atmosphere and also have a look at some greek culture!
    Glad that you could have some vegetarian food! sometimes I've had to squeeze my brain looking for where to go for dinner with any vegetarian friend who came to visit us. Meat is not a problem, the great problem is to find a dish without fish (or seafood) in it!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed my holiday spam! Finding meat and fish-free food is tricky - I'm spoilt in India! Being vegetarian is still tricky in many part of the world. xxx

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  21. It's a shame places were closed, but it looks like a beautiful town to wander round nonetheless. That salad looks like just the thing for a hot day.

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    1. I could live on Greek salad! xxx

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  22. Awww the cats! I always make feline friends when I go on holiday. It's lovely to see that they're being looked after.
    It's a very pretty town. I kinda like the fact that artifacts are just around and about. Here they'd be locked up, behind glass or roped off. It feels like they're more a part of a place if they're just there.
    xx

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    1. We can't resist making a feline friend or two when we're away - a mummy cat used to come and visit our apartment and we gave her milk. One day she bought her kittens to show us - i wanted to keep them! xxx

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  23. I so enjoyed my virtual trip to Kos via your photos. It makes me happy to pet the local cats when I travel - the cemeteries in Paris are home to quite a few. I like that the artifacts seem to be regarded as a part of the scenery instead of something in a glass case in a museum.

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    1. I remember the cats at Piérre Lachaise, quite a haunting site.
      It's lovely to be able to walk amongst the relics, they wouldn't last five minutes if they were hanging around here! xxx

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  24. I've got a photo of me sitting under Hippocrate's tree. I think I'm eating a donut for breakfast - perhaps I was unwittingly channeling my inner Audrey lol. x

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Love from Vix
xxx